The Only Issue That Will Make or Unmake presidents.(Opinion &Amp; Editorial)

Manila Bulletin, September 26, 2002 | Go to article overview

The Only Issue That Will Make or Unmake presidents.(Opinion &Amp; Editorial)


Byline: Hector R. R. Villanueva

"What the electorate gives, the electorate can take away."

- Tony Blair

AT this point in time, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, vis-a-vis other pretenders to the throne, is the most entrenched politically; the best organized; apparently the most astute among politicians; positively, the most hardworking; probably among the best informed among them; and thus far retains the loyalty and solid support of the "heavies" in the hierarchy of the Lakas-NUCD-UMDP, notably former President Fidel V. Ramos, Chairman Emeritus, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Jose de Venecia, Party coChairman.

In short, President Macapagal Arroyo remains the most formidable adversary for the 2004 presidential race; among the most popular of the country's many celebrities; the most traveled within the Philippines' executive among the present crop of politicians; and the most photographed personality in the country.

In other words, the floating of the name of Fernando Poe Jr., or FPJ, as a possible contender, is not only premature and an injustice to the local moviedom's perennial box-office "king of the movies" but FPJ also comes out as a desperation "bet" in view of the fact that FPJ has had no track record in governance, public service, academic excellence, political history, and rapport with the elite Makati business middle class that shouts the loudest and spends the least which means that the fight for the minds and hearts of the "masa" will determine the fate of the 2004 elections.

Having laid down these premises, the only election issue that makes or unmakes a presidential candidate is graft and corruption, and all other corollary issues such as, womanizing, alcoholism, gambling, polygamy, lying, extravagance, etc. are forgivable, tolerable, forgettable and dismissible.

Thus, except for two, Philippine postwar administrations, from President Elpidio Quirino to Carlos Garcia, Diosdado Macapagal, Ferdinand Marcos, Corazon Aquino, Fidel V. Ramos and Joseph Ejercito Estrada, were all accused of rampant corruption, except for Presidents Manuel Roxas and Ramon Magsaysay, respectively, who both died prematurely in office, and Ferdinand Marcos and Joseph Estrada who were ousted by EDSA-I and EDSA-DOS also for reasons of graft and corruption.

By the same token, the administration of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is no exception, even if, as a person, President Macapagal Arroyo has not been accused of or tainted by such allegations in the same manner that Diosdado Macapagal, Corazon Aquino and Fidel V. Ramos to name a few, also succeeded in keeping their integrity intact and their good reputation up to the present. …

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